Fugitive Telemetry, the latest novella in the excellent Murderbot series by Martha Wells, has our faithful, snarky Murderbot on Preservation Station, guarding the humans it saved in the last book, attempting to relax watching Sanctuary Moon and growing perhaps a bit bored when, alas, a dead human appears. Excuse me, a “deceased human” as our dear SecUnit is repeatedly told to say. Dead human sounds..too blunt…too icky, which Muderbot hilariously reminds us is very true. Humans, dead or alive are constantly eating, secreting, smelling up the place. And yet it faithfully puts its life on the line repeatedly, watcheing endless hours of media trying to understand us. And maybe, just maybe, is even quite fond of some humans. Some of them.
Martha Wells is an absolute master at creating the voice of this character. The internal dialogue, the endless parentheses analysing its inner angst is, for me, the greatest draw of these books. Wells knows she has drawn a character that, in its awkwardness, is incredibly relatable.
This installment can be read as a stand alone, but it would be helpful to have read the others to understand the references to GrayCris and prior shenanigans Murderbot got into. The story follows the same pattern as a crises unfolds that Murderbot has to solve, but this time it works more closely with humans, (sadly) watches less Sanctuary Moon, a commits less murder. I did really enjoy the book but maybe a bit less than others in the series. I would definitely recommend to anyone who could read the following sentence and feel they’ve been seen:
“…I was, a construct made of cloned human tissue, augments, anxiety, depression, and unfocused rage, a killing machine for whichever humans rented me, until I made a mistake and got my brain destroyed by my governor module.”